EDITORIAL: Rainbow innocents

The Russian government has ensured the Sochi Olympics will become the Gay Games

What were the politicians of Russia thinking? Clearly, they were not.

If you are a government that wants to bring attention to something, ban it. How did that prohibition thing work south of the border 100 years ago? Worked pretty well for gangsters.

Long before anyone has even lit the torch, it’s clear the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia will be the gay Olympics. Russia’s so-called leaders have ensured that with their draconian, anti-gay laws they say they will enforce during the Games.

The laws, as we understand them, are as stupid as they are discriminatory. What’s even dumber is the timing for the pronouncement of these laws and the stance Russia wants to take during the Olympics. Even if President Vladimir Putin and others thought they could get away with putting people in jail during non-Olympic months for whatever they deem to be outward signs of homosexuality, what made them think they could pull this kind of garbage when the whole world is watching?

If Putin and his cronies want to go down the path of intolerance, want to bury (please forgive the use of this word) gay-ness, they could not have picked a worse time to do it. No, these will be the Gay Games, for certain. And why not? Putin has opened the door wide open for criticism and demonstrations and blatant disregard for his ridiculous laws. When you tune in to the Olympics in February, you will see more rainbows painted on the nails, bodies and uniforms of athletes and spectators than you could imagine, and power to them. (We cling to the belief members of our national men’s hockey team will not put rainbows anywhere on their uniforms, but that’s only because of our old-school pride about not messing with the iconic red-and-white. Those uniforms should be accessorized only with gold.)

Provided no one gets hurt or sent to jail, we suspect these Olympics are going to provide some serious laughs. We can imagine photographs of, say, two male spectators, from whatever country, full of local vodka and purposely kissing in front of a Sochi police officer. It would be even more funny if they weren’t gay but were still arrested for this public display. Sure wouldn’t want to be the Russian judge chosen to sort out that mess.

In the end, we hope we can laugh through the Olympics over this issue and not be subjected to scenes of burly police officers carting away rainbow-clad innocents.

— Editorial by John Harding